I have a few apple trees and other fruit trees in my garden, and was fortunate enough to find out from a local fruit tree ‘guru’, the names of the various varieties of apples and other fruits growing. He even dated the trees, and one is around 150 years old! However, there is one tree that he didn’t, or indeed couldn’t, name. He wasn’t 100% sure what type of fruit tree it was, as it has never in the 14 years we have owned the house, borne a single fruit. This year, this crazy year of Covid-19, it has surprised us and decided to reveal its identity- it’s a greengage tree! It has for the very first time produced a decent crop of juicy, yellow, honey-scented fruits, maybe due to an exceptionally warm and sunny spring,and it has been a pleasure to finally see it flourish. Greengages are a cultivar of wild plums; I was utterly delighted to enjoy these seasonal delights, as well as offer some to friends and neighbours. Wasps, it seems, love these fruits too, and have now sadly bitten into the remaining greengages, all of which have since fallen to the ground and decayed.
However, before the pleasure of eating these beauties was all over, I also managed to create a new dessert with them- a greengage crumble- and made it a handful of times for various supper guests, all of whom loved it! I think individual ramekin desserts are a beautiful way to indulge guests and impress them with their very own dessert that nobody gets to dive into, prod, or share. You can use most seasonal fruits and also play around with added ingredients as well as the crumble topping itself. I used my ripe and juicy greengages, added a little decadence with good quality dark chocolate, and made the crumble mix with muscovado sugar to give it a darker, caramelised taste.
Ingredients for 6 individual ramekins
12-15 soft ripe greengages or other plums (of course, other fruits can be used according to season)
6 squares of lindt dark chocolate or a similar amount of another brand
100g unsalted cold butter cut into small cubes
175g plain flour
40g flaked toasted almonds
50-60 g dark muscovado sugar
A pinch of salt
Gently cook the greengages for around 5 minutes until soft but intact. When cool enough to handle, remove the stones and cut the greengages in half. Place them at the bottom of each ramekin, flesh side up- 5 halves per ramekin should do. Break the chocolate into small pieces and lay evenly over the fruit. Rub together the flour and butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the almonds, the sugar and salt and mix well. Spoon enough crumble mix over each ramekin to fill it to almost the top. Store the desserts in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. If you have crumble mix left over, simple freeze it to use another time.
Preheat the oven to around 170c, and bake the crumbles for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and just bubbling.
Remove the desserts from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes, before serving with a little vanilla ice cream or some creme fraiche on the side.